History of Life

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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The living world today contains all kinds of creatures that do unexpected things - we have come to expect that there were complex and unusual ways of life in the past, and that evolution took some unexpected turns at times. Entertainingly written for students, History of Life, 4th Edition takes you to the edge of current knowledge. This text is aimed at students and anyone interested in the history of life on our planet. It explores the "whys" of events that occurred and, in this newest edition, it takes a closer look at the evolution of the physical earth and the strong interactions between organisms and environment. The books coverage includes geography, climate, atmosphere, ocean, and land (a changing stage) while following the interplay between organisms. Also new to this edition is a devoted website, which explores additional environmental factors and supplemental topics, and provides key links and additional student and instructor assistance. Covers the field succinctly with the appropriate depth for the undergraduate market. Examines vertebrates in depth, the easiest group of organisms for students to focus on. Draws examples from both vertebrate and invertebrate fossil record. Focuses more on the evolution of the physical earth and the influences of environmental conditions on evolution.

Author Biography

Richard Cowen learned how to write and think critically at Cambridge University, and how to teach and think creatively at the University of California, Davis. He received a campus Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993 and designed the course “History of Life” there. The book was written specifically for that course, and has gone on to become a best-selling textbook.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Origin Of Life on Earth

Chapter 2. Earliest Life on Earth

Chapter 3. Sex and Nuclei: Eukaryotes

Chapter 4. The Evolution of Metazoans

Chapter 5. The Metazoan Radiation

Chapter 6. Changing Life in a Changing World

Chapter 7. The Early Vertebrates

Chapter 8. Leaving the Water

Chapter 9. Tetrapods and Amniotes

Chapter 10. Early Amniotes and Thermoregulation

Chapter 11. The Triassic Takeover

Chapter 12. Dinosaurs

Chapter 13. The Evolution of Flight

Chapter 14. The Modernization of Land and Sea

Chapter 15. The Origin of Mammals

Chapter 16. The End of the Dinosaurs

Chapter 17. Cenozoic Mammals

Chapter 18. Geography and Evolution

Chapter 19. Primates

Chapter 20. Evolving Toward Humans

Chapter 21. Life in the Ice Age


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